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Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA)

Pre-removal risk assessment – Refugee claims in Canada

Canada is committed to ensuring that people being removed from Canada are not sent to a country where they would be in danger or at risk of persecution.

If you are told to leave Canada, you will be given a notice that the removal order is being enforced. At that time, if you are eligible, you will be given the opportunity to apply for a pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA). 

If you apply, an officer will review your application, as well as documents and other evidence you provide in support of it. If you previously made a refugee claim, the officer will limit their consideration to new evidence, or that which you were not able to present at your refugee hearing. 

You may be asked to attend an interview. 

If you are eligible to apply for a PRRA, you will be given an application form and guide. 

You will have fifteen (15) days in which to apply.

When you receive your PRRA forms, your removal order is suspended for 15 days. 

This suspension will remain in effect until:

  • you notify Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) that you do not intend to apply for a PRRA;
  • you miss the 15-day application deadline; or
  • you apply for a PRRA and your application is rejected (or you withdraw your application or leave Canada by choice).

Note: If the PRRA application forms are mailed to you, you will be given an additional seven (7) days in which to apply.

In support of your application, you will be able to submit written evidence to help explain the risk that you would face if removed from Canada.

In reviewing your case, the officer will consider:

  • risk of persecution as defined in the Geneva Convention;
  • risk of torture; and
  • risk to your life or the risk that you may be subjected to cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.

Note: Remember, you are responsible for keeping your application up-to-date. If your circumstances change and this may affect your application, it is your responsibility to inform CIC of the change. This is so that decision-makers have all the information that you want considered for your application.

Some people are not eligible

Some people are not eligible for a PRRA

You are not eligible if you:

  • are a protected person (that is, you presently enjoy refugee protection in Canada);
  • were found to be a Convention refugee by another country and you can return there;
  • made a refugee claim and it was not eligible to be referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) because you came to Canada from a safe third country;
  • made a refugee claim, which was rejected by theIRB (includes abandoned or withdrawn), and less than 12 months have passed since that time;
  • applied for a PRRA, which was rejected by CIC, and less than 12 months have passed since that time;
  • are subject to extradition (extradition is a formal request that Canada return you to another country because you are a suspected or convicted criminal).

In the event of a sudden change in country conditions, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism may exempt certain nationals from the bar on accessing a PRRA. Regulations have been developed to specify criteria which must be considered when determining whether or not an exemption should be granted.

For more information, please see the Notice of Regulatory Changes to Applications for Permanent Resident Status and Changes on Accessing a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment.

If your application is accepted

If the PRRA officer accepts your application, you may receive the status of “protected person.” This means you can stay in Canada and you can apply to become a permanent resident.

If your application is rejected

If the PRRA officer rejects your application, you will receive a written notice. Your removal order comes into effect again and you may receive a reasonable period of time to ensure your departure from Canada. If your application is rejected, you may apply to the Federal Court of Canada for a review of the PRRA officer’s decision.


Notice – Notice of Regulatory Changes to Applications for Permanent Resident Status and Changes on Accessing a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment

August 15, 2012 — Regulatory amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations related to applying for permanent resident status following a positive decision on a refugee claim and accessing a pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA) came into effect today.

The regulatory changes make it easier for refugees to become permanent residents. The requirement for people to apply for permanent resident status within 180 days of receiving their protected person status has been removed.

In addition, a one-year bar on applying for a PRRA came into effect at Royal Assent of the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act (June 28, 2012). 

This means that individuals cannot apply for a PRRA for one year following a final decision by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) on an asylum claim or following a PRRA decision. 

A final decision on a refugee claim or PRRA assessment includes rejected, abandoned and withdrawn applications.

For failed refugee claimants from a designated country of origin, the bar on accessing a PRRA will be extended to three years. This change will start when the new asylum system comes into effect later this year.

The bars on accessing a PRRA are designed to streamline the asylum system, eliminate duplication and enable faster removal of failed refugee claimants.

To address the possibility that conditions in a person’s home country change, which could result in people being returned to a situation of risk within this one-year period, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism has the authority to exempt all or some nationals from that country from the one-year bar on access to a PRRA.

The Regulations specify criteria which should be considered when determining whether or not an exemption should be granted. 

This exemption provides a safety net for failed refugee claimants who may face new risks in their home countries as a result of recently changed country conditions following a final decision by the IRB or a PRRA decision.

To read more about the changes, visit the Canada Gazette website.

To read more about who might qualify for an exemption, please see:  Notice—Exemptions to the Bars on Applying for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment.


Notice – Exemptions to the Bars on Applying for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment

August 15, 2012 — With the passage of the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act, individuals who have received a final decision on their refugee claim from the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) or a pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA) within the last 12 months are not eligible for a PRRA unless they are eligible for an exemption

A final decision on a refugee claim or PRRA assessment includes rejected, abandoned and withdrawn applications.

Effective today, some individuals may be eligible for a PRRA if they come from one of the following exempted countries and they received a final decision from the IRB or a finalPRRA decision on or between August 15, 2011, and August 14, 2012.

Exempted countries:

  • Central African Republic
  • Egypt
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Libya
  • Mali
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • Syria

It is important to note that the ability to apply for PRRA does not guarantee the outcome of the risk assessment. Officers at Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will continue to decide cases individually, based on the information provided.

Please note that individuals are responsible for keeping their PRRA application up-to-date.

It is the applicant’s responsibility to inform CIC of any changes to their application. This is required, so that decision makers have all the information an individual wants considered for their application.

People who receive a final IRB or PRRA decision after August 14, 2012, are not entitled to a PRRA for 12 months, even if they come from a country listed above. Any recent changes in country conditions will have been considered when the refugee claim was decided or during the PRRA process.

Effective today, CIC will also discontinue the processing of PRRA applications that are currently in the inventory for which a final IRB or PRRA decision was made within the last 12 months (on or between August 15, 2011 and August 14, 2012) and for which a country exemption does not apply.

These individuals will be informed that they are not entitled to apply for a PRRA, that the removal order against them may now be enforced, and they are required to leave Canada.

The majority of people who seek a PRRA are failed refugee claimants. These individuals will have had their asylum claim heard before the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) at the independent IRB.

Once the new asylum system starts later in 2012, most claimants will also have had the opportunity to appeal a negative RPD decision to the new Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) at the IRB.

All claimants can ask the Federal Court to review a negative decision.

In considering what countries to exempt, CIC considers any event that has recently arisen in a country that could place all or some of its nationals in a situation of risk similar to those defined in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (sections 96—definition of a Convention Refugee and 97—definition of a person in need of protection).

Relevant changes may include:

  • new laws, policies and practices that target a specific population;
  • changes in laws, policies, practices or government that indicate government sanction of persecution against certain groups; or
  • changes in laws or practices that indicate substantial grounds to believe that a danger of torture exists or that indicate a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment or risk to life that is not generalized to the entire population of a country.

Please note that above list of exempted countries is not the same as the list of countries for which a temporary suspension of removals (TSR) applies. The Government of Canada may impose a temporary suspension of removals to countries when conditions such as war or environmental disaster endanger the safety and security of the civilian population. A suspension of removals is always only a temporary measure. It is lifted when conditions in the country improve and there is no longer a generalized risk. For more information, visit the Canada Border Services Agency website.

The list of countries exempt from the bar on accessing a PRRA includes a set of countries in which country conditions have worsened in the past 12 months (August 15, 2011 to August 14, 2012). As a result of this new change in country conditions, individuals could face a situation of risk that may warrant an additional assessment, which is why they are exempt from the bar on a PRRA.


Limits on pre-removal risk assessments and applications for humanitarian and compassionate consideration

Under the new system, limits on accessing a pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA) and on submitting an application for humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) consideration come into effect right away.

Pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA)

Changes on accessing a PRRA include:

  • For most claimants, allowing only one PRRA in a 12 month period – in other words, no PRRA for one year following a final negative decision on a refugee claim from the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada or a final negative PRRA decision; and
  • For claimants from a designated country of origin, the bar on accessing a PRRA will be extended to 36 months.

These changes will stop duplication and deter unfounded asylum claims from people who would use the system to delay removal.

Since a person’s risk of return will have been assessed by the Refugee Protection Division at the IRB, and with most failed claims, the Refugee Appeal Division, a further risk assessment is not necessary. 

All failed asylum claimants will still be able to ask the Federal Court to review a negative decision.

In the event of a sudden change in country conditions, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism may exempt certain nationals from the bar on accessing a PRRA

Regulations have been developed to specify criteria which must be considered when determining whether or not an exemption should be granted.

For more information, please see the Notice of Regulatory Changes to Applications for Permanent Resident Status and Changes on Accessing a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment.

Application for humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) consideration

Changes to H&C include:

  • An H&C application cannot be submitted while a refugee claim is pending. Claimants have the option of withdrawing their refugee claim in order to apply for H&C, but this must be done prior to substantive evidence being heard at the hearing before the IRB.
  • Failed refugee claimants will be barred from requesting H&C for one year following a final negative IRB decision. Final negative decisions also include claims in which the IRB determines that a refugee claim has been abandoned or withdrawn. 
  • Exceptions to the bar will be made in cases where removal would subject an applicant to a risk to life caused by the inability of their country of nationality to provide adequate health or medical care, or where removal would have an adverse effect on the best interests of a child directly affected.
  • At Royal Assent, the bar on requests for H&C comes into force. Individuals who received a negative IRB decision must wait for 12 months following the final negative IRB decision before being able to request H&C.

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